Zinc deficiency: How to test zinc levels at home

By Cat, Feb 3, 2019 

Zinc is an essential mineral, but many of us – especially vegetarians – do not have sufficient levels. To find out if you have deficiency, take a simple test at home using an aqueous solution of zinc sulfate. I first took this test when I was living in Portland in the late 1990s, on a visit to my MD who practiced natural healing methods. My levels were indeed low, so he recommended adding a chelated zinc supplement.

I recently got an email from Dr. Jockers that included a link to more information about this zinc taste test (1a). Read on for my notes.

See also 1. Dr. Jockers’ article on “Signs of Zinc Deficiency,” (1b) in which he lists 15 signs; 2.  my article: Notes on Natural Health/Healing Topics: Q – Z, and scroll down to bottom of the page for section on “Zinc.” 

Zinc Taste Test (aka Zinc Tally Test)

For this home test, Dr. Jockers recommends purchasing Biotics Research brand of aqueous zinc sulfate (available on Amazon; search ASIN B000UQTEQA). See also their pdf (2) which I’ve saved as ZincTasteTest-BioticsResearch.pdf. Use 10 ml (about 2 teaspoons) of the solution (1-dropperfull), and hold in your mouth for 30 seconds. Here’s how to interpret what you taste:

  • Optimal Zn level: An immediate, unpleasant, obviously adverse taste;
  • Adequate Zn level: A definite but not strongly unpleasant taste noted immediately, and tends to intensify with time;
  • Quite Deficient: No taste noted initially, but develops in 10-15 seconds;
  • Very Deficient: Tasteless or “tastes like water.”

Dr. Jockers recommends doing the test weekly.

Zinc supplements

If you are deficient in zinc, it is best to take a chelated zinc supplement – zinc chelated by an amino acid such as glycine or methionine – rather than the zinc sulfate (a salt), because chelating heavy essential minerals is the safest and best-absorbed way to take them. Dr. Jockers recommends a daily dose of 20 – 40 mg zinc. 

Food sources of zinc

The following are from Dr. Jocker’s article (1):

  • animal source: oysters, chicken, grass-fed dairy, grass-fed meat, wild-caught salmon;
  • vegetable and seed sources: spinach, asparagus, cacao (dark chocolate), cashews, almonds, watermelon seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Mushrooms are one of my favorite sources. Whole grains, legumes and other seeds are all excellent sources, but they are best if sprouted to avoid the toxic lectins. See my article: Phytates & Toxic Lectins in Grains, Legumes, Nuts & Seeds, and How to Avoid Them.

See also Everyday Health article (3) for additional food sources of zinc.


  1. Dr Jockers:
    1. drjockers.com/test-zinc-levels-home/
    2. drjockers.com/15-zinc-deficiency-symptoms
  2. bioticsresearch.com/sites/default/files/LIT-132-Zinc%20Taste%20test_0.pdf
  3. everydayhealth.com/pictures/best-food-sources-zinc/

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